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“Erin's voice made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. She sings with great expression and a depth that you just can’t hear — you've got to feel.” – Don Kennedy
With a vocal style that evokes such jazz greats as Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Anita O’Day, jazz newcomer Erin O'Luanaigh brings to the music scene a voice with a depth and maturity that belies her 21 years. The vocalist from Cheshire, Connecticut, is captivating listeners with the October release of her debut album, "Honeysuckle Rose."
Erin was introduced to jazz at the age of twelve by her grandfather, who pulled out a Frank Sinatra album from his record collection and unwittingly changed Erin’s life. Within weeks, she was memorizing Ella's scat solos and singing "Fever" into a hairbrush.
Her first opportunity to sing jazz in earnest came in 2008, as a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Majoring in English Literature, she nevertheless spent most of her time in the college's jazz studio, studying and rehearsing under the direction of department head Chris McCourry. Within the first week of her freshman year, she was named the sole student member of The HillCats, Hillsdale College's faculty jazz band — a notable position that would showcase her talents before a wide variety of audiences at concerts, fundraisers, and master classes throughout Michigan during her college career.
In 2009, she also became the vocalist of the Hillsdale College Big Band. During her senior year with the Big Band, Erin was named “Outstanding Vocalist” at the 2012 Liberal Arts Jazz Festival, adjudicated by jazz luminaries Jim Rupp, David Jensen, and Brienn Perry.
Rounding out her jazz career at Hillsdale, Erin performed in clubs throughout southern Michigan with the student jazz combo Rob Roy. She was a member of the international music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota and received the Buhrer-True Scholarship for excellence in music.
Her first album, "Honeysuckle Rose," was recorded at Solid Sound Studios in Ann Arbor, Michigan, shortly before her graduation in May 2012. The album is accompanied by both The HillCats and the College Big Band, and derives much of its source material from a tribute concert to Anita O'Day, performed during Erin's sophomore year. The majority of the album was recorded live.
Erin's music has been featured on the internationally syndicated “Dick Robinson’s American Standards By the Sea” and "The Don Kennedy Show." Mr. Kennedy praised "Honeysuckle Rose," claiming, “Erin's voice made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. She sings with great expression and a depth that you just can’t hear — you've got to feel.”
Erin currently teaches English and history at a private school in Hartford, Connecticut. She most recently brought the character of "Betty Schaefer" to the stage in the Warner Theatre Stage Company's production of "Sunset Boulevard" in Torrington, Connecticut.
But her first and greatest love is jazz singing, which she is working to pursue full-time. She is currently performing in venues throughout Connecticut with masterful pianist John Brighenti, who has toured the U.S. with the Glenn Miller and Eddy Howard Orchestras.
“Honeysuckle Rose” — her breakthrough album soon to be released on iTunes — may now be purchased through the Hillsdale College Bookstore at: bookstore.hillsdale.edu/MerchDetail.aspx?MerchID=723926.
To follow Erin’s journey and learn more about her music, please visit her website: http://erinoluanaigh.com.